With record gusts from Cyclone Amphan bearing down on India and Bangladesh, humanitarian aid workers saw a triple threat coming to life before their eyes: The strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal was about to overwhelm years of a chronic refugee crisis—that weeks of coronavirus spread had already compounded.
“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” said Dipankar Datta, Oxfam’s country director in Bangladesh.
On May 14 two people living in the world’s largest refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar tested positive for COVID-19. By May 18 at least 197 people in the area tested positive, and one person had died from the disease. On May 20 Cyclone Amphan made landfall.